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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I got out of my car

I decided to eliminate most of driving from my life. I bought a bus pass for the first time in ten years. Until recently I didn't even know how to go to Downtown Vancouver by bus from my home in North Vancouver. I thought taking buses would be such a hassle, but after doing it for a few days, I realized that the effect it would have on my life was completely opposite. It has been such a liberating experience.

No more stress from bridge traffic. No more planning ahead to avoid rush hours - actually travelling during rush hours is better as there are more buses and we get to use all the HOV lanes! No more circling to find parking. I can actually stop anywhere I want. I get to walk so much during the day that I fall right to sleep at night. I get to read while I wait, and on the bus. I can use my cellphone. I get to spend real quality time with my kids. When they say 'look at that bird nest on the tree!', I can actually look up at it.

AND I can actually get to places on time - the whole purpose of transportation!

I had no idea that not driving would have so many great benefits. I decided this for the environment, but now I am so selfishly indulged in my new transit life. I will still have to drive when I absolutely have to, though I am challenging my definition of 'absolutely have to' every day.

I thank Stephen Harper for my decision. He said Canadians weren't going to stop driving and put up with chillier houses. This statement sent mean alarming message, even stronger than Al Gore's film. If smokers don't stop smoking, they won't be able to quit smoking. In the same way,if we are not going to stop adding greenhouse gas to our earth, we are not going to stop global warming. I challenge you, Stephen. Canadians CAN stop driving or at least eliminate much of it, and Canadians CAN turn down a few degrees of their thermostat and put on a sweater. Canadians CAN shower less frequently. Canadians CAN, and all of us in the 'developed' nations CAN do all these.

We can all get out of our car, put our both feet solid on the earth, and start walking.




  1. Great Ideas and practices! Satoko, I appreciate your bravura! it is difficult in deed, we are not born on the four wheel, of course we can live without them. Yet the key problem is the whole purpose of transportation you have mentioned: You can actually get to places on time! But you know in Beijing, though you have a car, you cant get to places on time, so, any good ideas except by bicycle for me?JF

  2. Thank you for your comment again, Dr. Jiang Fei. It is so special to receive comments from Beijing. So it is practical to use bicycles in Beijing, I suppose, as the traffic is so bad there? Maybe just like in Tokyo. I never drive there. In Vancouver it rains horribly long and it takes a lot of guts and patience to stay away from cars, to be honest. However, when I look at how children love walking in the rain with their umbrellas, I am reminded of the importance of feeling the nature as it is. Thank you truly, Satoko

  3. If we walked on foot too fast, we will miss the flowers in the grassland beside the street; if we run too fast, we sometime pass our good friends, if we locked ourself in the car, we almost lost the whole world! as you have said, the feeling of the nature, the only fortune left for the people sure to die one day.